Twitter today announced it’s starting to roll out an expanded Mute filter and a brand new reporting method in another effort to help users shield themselves from abusive or offensive tweets as the company steps up anti-abuse features of the service.
All of Twitter’s support teams have been retrained on the new policies, including special sessions on cultural and historical contextualization of hateful conduct.
This marks the first major update to Twitter’s reporting and blocking tools in two years.
“Because Twitter happens in public and in real-time, we’ve had some challenges keeping up with and curbing abusive conduct,” explains the company.
“We took a step back to reset and take a new approach, find and focus on the most critical needs, and rapidly improve.”
For starters, the app’s longstanding Mute feature that lets you mute accounts you don’t want to see tweets from is now accessible from notifications. Now you can mute keywords, phrases and entire conversations you don’t want to see notifications about via the Notifications section in the mobile Twitter app.
The expanded Mute feature will begin rolling out to everyone in the coming days, Twitter has said. Learn more about Twitter’s new mutting options in this FAQ.
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Reporting harassment on Twitter is now easier with a more direct way to specifically report hateful conduct that should make it clearer for users who want to report tweets but don’t know what to label them. It also improves Twitter’s ability to process these reports while helping reduce the burden on the person experiencing the abuse.
Twitter’s Hateful Conduct Policy can be read here.
As mentioned, Twitter’s support people who handle moderation have been re-trained to better understand what to look for when analyzing reported tweets.
“Not everyone has the same cultural background or framework to even be able to recognize why certain types of content or certain phrases or the like are actually abusive,” Del Harvey, Twitter’s Vice President of Trust and Safety, told Recode.
“A lot of times, what we found was that whoever got that initial report didn’t have that background to understand what the content was actually referencing.”
The company does not expect today’s announcements to suddenly remove abusive conduct from the service. “No single action by us would do that,” said Twitter. “Instead we commit to rapidly improving Twitter based on everything we observe and learn.”